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    Armenian group expresses disappointment in Obama letter

    Hurriyet Daily News
    29 Nisan 2009 - 00:00Son Güncelleme : 28 Nisan 2009 - 12:47

    ISTANBUL - An influential U.S. Armenian organization has expressed disappointment about President Barack Obama’s decision to refrain from recognizing the 1915 incidents as “genocide” in a letter it sent to the U.S. leader, the group said late Monday.

    Obama, who pledged to recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incident during his presidential campaign, refrained from using the word "genocide" while describing the events in his annual April 24 statement to mark the "day of remembrance of the Armenian deaths."

     

    "Your use of Mets Yehern (Great Catastrophe) was an inadequate substitute for Armenian Genocide," Armenian Assembly of America Chairman Hirair Hovnanian said in the letter he sent to Obama.

     

    "It was a regrettable retreat from the expressed promises you made as a candidate … and in so doing, may have taken a step backwards in genocide prevention around the world," he added.

     

    The letter also pledged that the Armenian-American community will pursue the prompt passage of a "genocide resolution" already pending in Congress and pledged that the Armenian-American community will pursue the passage of the bill.

     

    Hovnanian added in the letter that actions resulting from the framework recently announced by Armenia and Turkey must be "distinct and separate from the issue of the Armenian Genocide."

     

    Obama's statement came a while after Turkey and Armenia announced that under Switzerland's mediation they have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of ties between the two neighboring countries that have not had diplomatic relations for more than a decade.

     

    Hovnanian also requested a meeting with the U.S. president to discuss problems and concerns of the Armenian-American community regarding relations with Armenia.

     

    The group also said U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden telephoned Hovnanian on April 24 and that they exchanged views on the history and status of Armenian-American community efforts to obtain affirmation by the U.S. government of the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incidents.

     

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